Maritime History of the Great Lakes
State of Michigan
Description
Creator
Whipple, Seth Arca
Media Type
Image
Item Type
Oil paintings
Description
This oil painting, signed "S.A. Whipple, Detroit, 1893", is a broadside view of the "State of Michigan", facing left. The vessel of arch-type construction is a package freighter and passenger carrier. Vessel has a green hull, white superstructure, and red trim. "Grummond's Mackinac Line" in red on bow, "Cleveland, Detroit, Alpena, Macinac Island, St. Ignace" in red on arch. Bowsprit has a gold "G" and star. There are 4 pennants with city names , and a company flag with a "G" on a blue ground, as well as the name flag and US flag. There is a frieghter in the distance behind the stern, and two sailing ships off the bow. Painting restored by Barry Bowman, October 2004. Vessel built 1873, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, as the Depere. Sold by Goodrich Dec. 1891 to S.B. Grummond, Detroit. Renamed State of Michigan. Sold to Miles Barry, Chicago, 1900. Sank in a gale off Mantague, Michigan Oct. 18, 1901. Entire crew rescued by the White Lake Lifesaving Station. Ship a total loss. Seth Arca Whipple was born at New Baltimore, Michigan and was the son of Nelson S. and Caroline C. [Dean] Whipple on February 11, 1855. Whipple was the eldest in a family of three sons and a daughter who died during childhood. In 1866, when Whipple was eleven years old , his father was arrested and charged with embezzling merchandise from the store of his employer, J. W. Frisbie, and selling it at his dry goods store in New Baltimore. There was a lengthy trial where his father pleaded for his innocence, but his reputation never completely recovered. Ladies, also were a source of trouble for the elder Whipple. The Whipple family moved permanently to Detroit in 1871. His father died on February 7, 1909. Seth continued to live with his mother until her death in 1888. A year later Whipple married Edith M. McKittrick, the daughter of William McKittrick and with that marriage they had no children. Edith was a singer, active in Detroit music circles, and director of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church choir. Shortly after finishing his famous canvas Sidewheel Steamer Tashmoo in 1901, Whipple died suddenly on October 10. He was forty-six. Newspaper accounts dramatically portrayed his fatal attack of paralysis suffered while working at his easel, but the attending physician listed cause of death as chronic nephritis (inflammation of the kidney) and uremic poisoning( which is a result due to kidney failure). This much is known of Seth Arca Whipple; what is unknown is the story behind his remarkable talent. Apparently without formal art training of any kind, he painted his way to a lasting place in America's marine art history. His first dated work is perhaps the most famous of all, Champion and Tow, 1878. So convincingly did it represent the marine traffic of it's time that Calvert Lithographing and Engraving Company reproduced it by of chromolithography. It shortly became the prototype of pictures hung in every steamship waiting room and ticket office on the Lakes, and Seth became one of the best known marine artists whose work were mass- produced during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
Notes
Canvas 20" x 34, in 2 3/4" wide frame
Date of Original
1893
Local identifier
W1951.015
Language of Item
English
Copyright Statement
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Contact
Detroit Historical Society
WWW address
Agency street/mail address

5401 Woodward Ave.,

Detroit, MI 48202

P. 313.833.7935

F. 313.833.5342

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State of Michigan


This oil painting, signed "S.A. Whipple, Detroit, 1893", is a broadside view of the "State of Michigan", facing left. The vessel of arch-type construction is a package freighter and passenger carrier. Vessel has a green hull, white superstructure, and red trim. "Grummond's Mackinac Line" in red on bow, "Cleveland, Detroit, Alpena, Macinac Island, St. Ignace" in red on arch. Bowsprit has a gold "G" and star. There are 4 pennants with city names , and a company flag with a "G" on a blue ground, as well as the name flag and US flag. There is a frieghter in the distance behind the stern, and two sailing ships off the bow. Painting restored by Barry Bowman, October 2004. Vessel built 1873, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, as the Depere. Sold by Goodrich Dec. 1891 to S.B. Grummond, Detroit. Renamed State of Michigan. Sold to Miles Barry, Chicago, 1900. Sank in a gale off Mantague, Michigan Oct. 18, 1901. Entire crew rescued by the White Lake Lifesaving Station. Ship a total loss. Seth Arca Whipple was born at New Baltimore, Michigan and was the son of Nelson S. and Caroline C. [Dean] Whipple on February 11, 1855. Whipple was the eldest in a family of three sons and a daughter who died during childhood. In 1866, when Whipple was eleven years old , his father was arrested and charged with embezzling merchandise from the store of his employer, J. W. Frisbie, and selling it at his dry goods store in New Baltimore. There was a lengthy trial where his father pleaded for his innocence, but his reputation never completely recovered. Ladies, also were a source of trouble for the elder Whipple. The Whipple family moved permanently to Detroit in 1871. His father died on February 7, 1909. Seth continued to live with his mother until her death in 1888. A year later Whipple married Edith M. McKittrick, the daughter of William McKittrick and with that marriage they had no children. Edith was a singer, active in Detroit music circles, and director of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church choir. Shortly after finishing his famous canvas Sidewheel Steamer Tashmoo in 1901, Whipple died suddenly on October 10. He was forty-six. Newspaper accounts dramatically portrayed his fatal attack of paralysis suffered while working at his easel, but the attending physician listed cause of death as chronic nephritis (inflammation of the kidney) and uremic poisoning( which is a result due to kidney failure). This much is known of Seth Arca Whipple; what is unknown is the story behind his remarkable talent. Apparently without formal art training of any kind, he painted his way to a lasting place in America's marine art history. His first dated work is perhaps the most famous of all, Champion and Tow, 1878. So convincingly did it represent the marine traffic of it's time that Calvert Lithographing and Engraving Company reproduced it by of chromolithography. It shortly became the prototype of pictures hung in every steamship waiting room and ticket office on the Lakes, and Seth became one of the best known marine artists whose work were mass- produced during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.